The ministry surveyed 1,400 consumers and found that more than 30% of respondents anticipated purchasing foreign-made products across a range of categories.
These included watches and glasses, baby products, passenger cars, jewellery and cosmetics, Sina English reported.
Parents have long been concerned about the provenance of domestic baby products, following a series of food scandals, but the survey signalled dissatisfaction in other categories, in particular cosmetics.
Among those respondents indicating their likely purchasing intentions in this area, three quarters said the domestic skin care market was not meeting current demand. And almost four in ten (38%) intended to buy more imported brands in the coming six months.
Last December, China cut import taxes on a range of FMCG goods from 17.3% to 7.7%, including baby products and personal-care products, with the Ministry of Finance explaining there was a need to give consumers access to quality and specialty products not widely produced locally.
The survey also highlighted demand for foreign vehicles such as SUVs and cars with alternative propulsion systems. That is likely to be given an additional boost from July when vehicle import tariffs are cut from 25% to 15%.
That, however, was less about addressing Chinese consumers’ needs than a response to the threat of a trade war with the US.
In a second survey, the Ministry of Commerce polled 1,000 distribution companies and reported a “relatively strong appetite” in boosting imports in those areas where consumers had indicated their preferences.
Earlier this year, however, Credit Suisse found a trend for Chinese consumers to opt for domestic brands in many categories, including sportswear and domestic appliances, driven in part by an element of nationalism.
“Chinese consumers, especially the younger generation, don’t just believe the notion that foreign brands are better”, said Charlie Chen, head of China consumer research at Credit Suisse.“Right now, Chinese consumers think China is good and ‘Made in China’ is not bad at all.”
Sourced from Sina English, Bloomberg; additional content by WARC staff